Drill Sergeant Class 502-14 graduated here 12 March. The graduation ceremony began with the arrival of the Official Party, headed by Maj. Gen. Leslie Purser, commanding general, 108th Training Command (IET).

"There were 85 Soldiers that were supposed to be here, but only 65 answered the call," said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael S. McCoy, U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School Commandant.

The rigorous nine-week course turns non-commissioned officers into the trainers of future American Soldiers. The graduates of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School (USADSS) are experts in military customs, Army regulations and hold their physical readiness to the highest of standards.

Upon graduation, the new drill sergeants wear the Drill Sergeant Badge. The 13 stars on it represent the original colonies, the snake is a symbol of preparedness and also holds a scroll imprinted with the motto "THIS WE'LL DEFEND." The DS Badge has been the Army Training Center's regimental crest since 1958 when the background was permanently changed from maroon to green.

Purser shared a story that reflected a new recruit's love/hate relationship with their Drill Sergeant instructors.

"When my son was graduating from basic training, his drill sergeant came up to him and told him that when [my son] retired, he could go to his drill sergeant's grave and spit on it. My son promptly responded with 'no drill sergeant, I will never stand in another line again'."

The Drill Sergeant School presented awards to Drill Sergeant Leader of the Cycle, Distinguished Honor Graduate, Leadership Award, Iron Drill Sergeant Award and Commandant's List.